Green roofs are sprouting up more and more on buildings around the world, from private residences and schools to cultural institutions and businesses. Made with hardy varieties of succulents, grasses, wildflowers, and herbs atop several structural layers—including a waterproof membrane and levels for drainage, insulation, and filtering—these self-sustaining living architectural features can bring natural beauty to urban buildings or connect rural structures to their surrounding landscapes.
The sky-high functional gardens also have a wide variety of ecological benefits, such as the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, reduce stormwater runoff, limit heat absorption, and provide habitats for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Factor in lower heating and cooling costs, extended roof life, and tax incentives (depending on the city), and it’s easy to see why this building trend continues to grow.
1.Autofamily House, Poland
Robert Konieczny of architecture firm KWK Promes devised this unique residence for an art collector in Poland. The home is accessed through a covered driveway, which wraps around to the elevated living quarters. The entire structure features a green roof, allowing it to blend seamlessly with the landscape when viewed from above.
2.Biesbosch Museum, National Park De Biesbosch, the Netherlands
A mix of herbs and grass blankets the transformed Biesbosch Museum, located in a national park near Dordrecht in the Netherlands. Architecture firm Studio Marco Vermeulen kept the previous building’s hexagonal structure and added a wing that looks out onto a water tidal park and the waterways that were dug around the museum, turning the site into an island.
3.Meera Sky Garden House, Singapore
Greenery is visible or accessible from every floor of Meera Sky Garden House, a four-story private residence built by architect Guz Wilkinson on Sentosa, an island in Singapore. The building is constructed with roof gardens on each level and combines glass and solid walls to provide privacy while maximizing cross ventilation, thereby reducing the need for air-conditioning.
4.Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Cellar, Bargino, Italy
While many green roofs are planted with grasses or moss, grapes were a natural choice for the Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Cellar. Florence-based architecture firm Archea Associati designed the 600-year-old company’s new headquarters, which disappears into the landscape thanks to the vine-covered exterior paired with the use of natural materials such as terra-cotta and wood.